Section 3. Freedom to Participate in the Political Process
The constitution and law provide citizens the ability to change their government through free and fair periodic elections held by secret ballot and based on universal and equal suffrage. Voting is mandatory.
Elections and Political Participation
Recent Elections: The government held a free and fair federal parliamentary election in 2016. Voters re-elected the Liberal-National Party Coalition government and Malcolm Turnbull remained prime minister. The coalition won 76 seats in the 150-seat House of Representatives, the Labor Party 69, and others five.
Participation of Women and Minorities: No laws limit participation of women and/or members of minorities in the political processes, and they did participate. Representation of women in major political parties remained low, however. The law requires that the “less represented gender” make up at least 40 percent of candidates on a party’s candidate list, with violations punishable by a fine. This law applied to local elections for the first time in May. The Electoral Commission noted that all major political parties fell short of this threshold. The law stipulates fines of between 20,000 to 50,000 kuna ($3,100 to $7,700) per electoral list against parties not meeting the threshold at the third regular election following the entry of force of the law, which was considered to be the May local elections. There were no reports of fines being imposed on political parties during the year.